U.S. beef — It’s what’s for dinner again in S. Korea

Remember the massive protests against U.S. beef that took place in South Korea last summer? Well, last Thursday, while Americans were feasting on Thanksgiving turkey and the world’s attention was drawn to the Mumbai terrorist attacks, South Korea’s supermarket chains resumed selling U.S. beef. The 2003 ban on U.S. beef, prompted by fear of mad ...

591330_081203_usbeef5.jpg
591330_081203_usbeef5.jpg

Remember the massive protests against U.S. beef that took place in South Korea last summer?

Well, last Thursday, while Americans were feasting on Thanksgiving turkey and the world's attention was drawn to the Mumbai terrorist attacks, South Korea's supermarket chains resumed selling U.S. beef. The 2003 ban on U.S. beef, prompted by fear of mad cow disease, was lifted in June. Until last week, though, only tiny butcher shops and some restaurants had been selling beef from the United States.

Were the supermarkets finally swayed by President Bush's endless paeans to the delicious taste of American cattle? "I'm more than willing to eat U.S. beef, and do -- eat a lot of it," he told a Japanese TV station in 2005.

Remember the massive protests against U.S. beef that took place in South Korea last summer?

Well, last Thursday, while Americans were feasting on Thanksgiving turkey and the world’s attention was drawn to the Mumbai terrorist attacks, South Korea’s supermarket chains resumed selling U.S. beef. The 2003 ban on U.S. beef, prompted by fear of mad cow disease, was lifted in June. Until last week, though, only tiny butcher shops and some restaurants had been selling beef from the United States.

Were the supermarkets finally swayed by President Bush’s endless paeans to the delicious taste of American cattle? “I’m more than willing to eat U.S. beef, and do — eat a lot of it,” he told a Japanese TV station in 2005.

Nope. It’s about consumer demand in tough economic times. U.S. beef costs 60 to 70 percent less than Korean beef. As one satisfied customer told the Associated Press, “It’s cheap — that’s all we consumers care about.”

Photo: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Preeti Aroon was copy chief at Foreign Policy from 2009 to 2016 and was an FP assistant editor from 2007 to 2009. Twitter: @pjaroonFP

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